We launched The Daily Vox a year ago with much trepidation. It was hardly an ideal time to be journalists, never mind a journalism start-up. We wondered: would anyone read and share our stories; would our brand of writing, reportage and angles give us an edge or push us over the ledge. Crucially, where the hell would the money come from to pay for the madness?
A year on and our finances are still uncertain, but then, we take some solace from the knowledge that so too are those of many of our peers. These are indeed challenging times for the media in South Africa, but amid the challenge there is also great opportunity.
We have sought to explore the South African experience in new ways, amplifying the voices of young South Africans beyond the political spectacle. We’ve covered Rhodes Must Fall before it was a hashtag and, when it was a hashtag, we devoted almost blanket coverage to the protests at UC . We were also among the very first to cover the surge in xenophobic violence in Kwazulu-Natal and we debated AB de Villiers’ religious affiliation before he even realised it was a matter of contention.
It’s certainly been good fun.
But there is a long, long way to go.
We have assembled a team from whom we are constantly learning, as much as we are teaching them. It is has also been challenging to nurture a team amid the constraints of our own loose structures, the academic commitments of some of our journalists, not to mention the limited expertise of our young journalists. But make no mistake, there is no shortage of young, journalistic talent in South Africa. And we believe that we can, and do, provide the kind of training and experience to young journalists that equips them for life in any newsroom in the country.
It’s certainly not an easy time to be a young South African. We have left the burden of decolonising our institutions, our literature and indeed, our media to the young among us. Already they have disabused us of the complacency that saw us walk past statues celebrating colonialists without questioning how these symbols shape the spaces we must carve for ourselves in this world. It is young people who will show us the way forward, towards a South Africa in which all its young people have the same chances of success.
We hope to be here to continue to tell the stories of the young people who lead us into the tomorrow that the youth of 1976 fought for.